Voice-active search, is it changing the game for SEO?

Voice-active search, is it changing the game for SEO?

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Voice-active search, is it changing the game for SEO?

Voice-active search is the fastest growing type of query and it’s estimated that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be made via voice-activated searching. What does this mean for all the effort you put into optimising your content for search engines?

We’ll take a deeper look into to this, but in brief, it could mean changing the way we use keywords in order to rank high enough on search engines, for digital assistants to pick our result to relay back to the searcher.

The 3 main topics we’ll discuss:

  • Conversational keyword phrases
  • The three types of search queries
  • Voice-active search vs type search

Conversational keyword phrases

Search bots, spiders, crawlers, robots, whatever you want to call them, they’re the automated software that can pick to use your content as an answer or leave you out completely. Pretty harsh, huh?

Well, think about when you’re asking your Amazon echo where the best place to eat is nearby, you’d want an answer that is the most relevant. So although it makes it harder for us digital marketers to do our job, it will make your users feel a lot more trusting when an answer is given from your site.

Due to the high-stakes here, you must make it super easy for them to crawl around and understand the context of your content (and know whether it’s the most relevant answer to the search).

All this is useful, but how can you use keywords for those tiny yet powerful bots, to find and choose your site when consumers are searching through speech?

  • Concentrate on the searchers intent
  • Create content around natural language
  • Write in a Conversational Tone

Searchers intent

Creating your content around the searcher should be your main priority. We’ll dive deeper into the three types of search queries soon, to introduce you to what they mean for your business though is what we’ll stick to for now. Searchers intent is exactly what it sounds like: the reason behind their voice search query. What do they want from the search? If they search ‘where’s the closest coffee shop’, they want an exact location and they want coffee of course!

Natural language

This refers to the language we use naturally, obvious really. To put it in other words, would you naturally say ‘restaurant near me’ or ‘where’s the closest restaurant to me’? This is the key difference between voice-active search and type search.

Conversational Tone

Similar to natural language, you want to focus on creating content that sounds as though you’re speaking. In other words, you should be writing as though you’re conversing with your reader. Use words that you would naturally say while chatting with someone.

The three types of search queries

As we mentioned before, searcher intent is a big part of successfully being chosen by the users’ digital assistant. Understanding and targeting your audience based on user intent is the way to be smart-watch successful, especially for voice-active searches.

Now, there are three types of search queries, which include:

  1. Transactional
  2. Informational
  3. Navigational

Transactional search queries are at the bottom of the sales funnel. These are searches like – subscribe me to updates on the weather. Whereas, informational searches are queries about a specific thing, object, person or place i.e ‘when was Google made’.

Lastly, navigational searches are users asking where something is located. As you can tell, they’re all pretty basic and obvious to identify.

Voice-active search vs type search

We’ve already dabbled in the comparison between the two, but let’s go further. Voice-active searches, more than not, use question-based sentences. For example, sentences starting with who, what, where, when and how.

Voice-active searches also use much longer keyword phrases (3-4 keywords, compared to 1-2 for type search), it’s actually estimated that in 2 years time half of all searches will be voice-activated.

In fact, think with Google have stated that in a survey they carried out, 52% of people who own a voice-active speaker keep it in main rooms, like their bedroom (24%) or living room. This is a big point to note because it shows how important users find voice-active searching. And 20 – 25% of all searches are voice-active.

Did you also know that Google said that in 2017, voice-active searches were up 32x since 2008! It looks as though soon it will take over type searching.

How should you optimise for voice-active search?

  1. Imagine you’re having a conversation when creating content
  2. Make it clear where you are local – submit your sitemaps to search engines
  3. Concentrate on long-tail keywords

Over to you

So, what do you think? Is voice-active search raining havoc on SEO or refiring the light? Visit our Search Engine Optimisation page for our help on getting you up to scratch on the new era of search.